Mosquito experts say the increased attention on public health is an excellent reminder that there are many ways for residents to protect themselves from mosquito-transmitted diseases.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), to date, there is no data to suggest that COVID-19 is spread by mosquitoes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the main way that COVID-19 spreads is from person to person.
While COVID-19 is not transmitted by mosquitoes, they can transmit several other diseases such as West Nile virus. There is no human vaccine for this disease which can cause debilitating cases of meningitis, encephalitis, and even death. Also, newly established invasive Aedes mosquitoes can transmit viruses such as chikungunya, dengue, and Zika, all of which are costly to treat and can have long-term health and financial consequences.
The best way to protect yourself from mosquito-transmitted diseases is to prevent mosquito bites. Wearing insect repellent is important as is eliminating all standing water. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in sources of water as small as a bottle cap and can complete their life cycle, from egg to adult, in about a week so it’s critical that residents inspect their yards and remove any standing water.
To help prevent mosquito bites:
- Apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients, including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535, according to label instructions. Follow EPA and CDC guidelines for the safe use of repellents on children.
- Dress in long sleeves and pants, especially if outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes that can spread West Nile virus are most active.
- Install screens on windows and doors and keep them in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water including in flowerpots, old tires, buckets, pet dishes, and trash cans.
- Repair leaking faucets and broken sprinklers.
- Clean rain gutters clogged with leaves.
- Report neglected swimming pools and day-biting mosquitoes to your local mosquito and vector control agency.
For more information check out these videos: Tip, Toss & Take Action, Everyone Can Help Fight the Bite!, and Mosquito Control is an Essential Service.
Peter Bonkrude, president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California joins Mark Alyn on this edition of Late Night Health.
Listen to Peter and Mark here